April 28, 2013

Golf: Big plans in place for summer play by Maine chapter

By Tom Chard tchard@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

The Maine chapter of the New England PGA recently held their spring meeting. The state's directors of golf, head pros and assistants who strive to make the game more enjoyable used the meeting to release their tournament schedule, announce their chapter awards and promote a couple of national junior tournament qualifiers in the state.

The Maine chapter will open its tournament season Tuesday with a pro-am tournament at Martindale Country Club in Auburn. The first championship event of the organization is the pro-pro stroke play May 7 at Webhannet Golf Club. That is followed by pro-am tournaments at Woodlands and Prouts Neck. The 21st State of Maine Championship will be played July 16-17 at Sugarloaf. It's the tournament solely for Maine pros and amateurs.

The Maine chapter will hold its Chapter Championship at Biddeford-Saco on Aug. 28-29. The pro-am championship, where clubs send their top amateurs with their head pro, will be played Sept. 23 at Portland. That happens after the popular three-day York County pro-am swing in successive days at Cape Arundel, Webhannet and York on Sept. 17, 18 and 19.

The final championship event is the pro-pro match play championship Oct. 8-9 at Dunegrass.

For the second straight year, Maine pros will offer free lessons outside Hadlock Field before a Portland Sea Dogs game. That will take place June 25.

All told, there will be 11 regular pro-am tournaments by the Maine chapter this season.

The chapter awards, which were announced for the previous year's work, are:

Professional of the Year -- Brian Bickford, Val Halla

Assistant Professional of the Year -- Rob Jarvis, Bangor Municipal

Junior Golf Leader -- Ron Bibeau, The First Tee of Maine

Teacher of the Year -- Anne McClure, The Woodlands Club

Player Development -- Brian Bickford, Val Halla

Bill Strausbaugh Award -- Matt Blasik, The Ledges

Horton Smith Award, Tom Moffatt, Cape Arundel

Merchandiser of the Year (private), Doug Van Wickler, The Woodlands Club; Gary Soule, (resort), Samoset Resort.

The Maine chapter is bringing back a state qualifying tournament for a national tournament, The Big "I" national championship. The state qualifier for the Big "I" will be June 8 at Cape Arundel in Kennebunkport. The tournament is open to the first 50 golfers, boys and girls, to submit an application with the entry fee of $50. The deadline to enter is June 1. The tournament is open to all amateur golfers who are Maine residents and who will not reach their 19th birthday on or before Aug. 8.

The low male and female scorer for 18 holes will earn spots into the Trusted Choice Big "I" national championship, Aug. 4-8, at the Country Club of North Carolina, Pinehurst, N.C. The website is www.bigigolf.com.

"This is a new event for us," said Tony Decker of the Maine chapter of the New England PGA. "Our chapter wanted to make some sort of footprint into junior golf. The Maine State Golf Association has its junior tournament schedule. We feel this is a good starting point for us. The members at Cape Arundel have given up their course on a Saturday for the tournament. There will be a meal after the tournament for the players."

The Big "I" is one of the longest-running national tournaments for junior golfers.

Applications should be sent to Tony Decker, PGA, 104 Frost St., Portland 04102. His e-mail: tdecker@pgahq.com.

(Continued on page 2)

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